A person who decides to start his or her own business face a long, winding road that is tumultuous on occasion and blocked by obstacles. While some people may have the motivation and desire for business ownership, they may not have taken the time to properly investigate and research their abilities and their business ideas. As a result, while thousands of new businesses are started each year, much more either fail or discontinue, and others transfer ownership or control. If the business fails – and it could – it may not only wreak havoc with your personal savings and other assets, but it could give your ego a tremendous blow.
What does it take to be a successful entrepreneur? This is a question that every business owner wants to know, with many trying to understand if there’s some magic formula to achieving success.
There is no “ideal” entrepreneurial personality – successful entrepreneurs can be analytical or intuitive, risk-averse or thrill-seeking, or gregarious and taciturn. However, experts suggest that successful small business entrepreneurs, whether male or female, share some common characteristics.
Below are some of these characteristics:
1. They dream big.
Successful entrepreneurs have the ability to envision a new reality and the will to bring it to fruition. They have crazy big dreams, even though to some these dreams may not be realistic or practical. But it is the big dreamers who really succeed. They are possibilities thinker who believes there are possibilities and are not limited by commonly held boundaries. They look beyond to ask the “what ifs” questions. They look for answers and solutions and aren’t daunted by challenges. In fact, they relish challenges.
2. They have a passion for positive change.
The entrepreneurs who make it big know that they have a unique contribution to make to society. They start a business, not just to change their own lives, but also to make a difference in the world and make it a better place. They want their products or services to succeed not only in terms of profits but to bring about positive change in the communities they live in by solving existing problems or filling existing gaps. They are motivated by their desire to improve circumstances at a broader level.
3. They have a clear vision of what they want to achieve.
Successful entrepreneurs have the vision for the future – what they want to achieve, what opportunities they need, and how they can accomplish it. Their vision gives them purpose and helps maintain their focus on what they want the business to achieve. It also helps them overcome the many humps and challenges they meet along the way.
4. They engage in calculated risk taking.
Contrary to common wisdom, entrepreneurs are not risk addicts. Instead, they take reasonable risks. While taking risks is part of the entrepreneurship process, those who succeed weigh the options, see what else is out there, and careful about the types of risks they are willing to take for themselves and those that might rely on them.
5. They are self-directed and self-motivated.
Entrepreneurs have a strong faith in their ideas, capabilities and in themselves. After all, to succeed, they constantly need to ask themselves the hard questions and then come up with ways to answer them. They have “intestinal fortitude” or that “fire in the belly.” They love to be their own boss, carving their own paths along the way.
6. They are results-driven.
Successful entrepreneurs are passionate about results. They want their actions to have a direct impact on results. They want the job done. They also have the ability to conceptualize the whole of a business; not just its individual parts, but how they relate to each other. They are individuals who always come up with new ideas.
7. They have a strong desire to be independent.
Entrepreneurs love to be in charge and be their own boss. They want to be in control. They carve their own path, relying on their own talents, instincts, and skills. They don’t take orders from anyone and do not need validation from superiors judging them whether they are worthy of a promotion or capable of handling more responsibilities. They move and make decisions on their own, without waiting for someone to push them. While being in charge can be daunting at times, the rewards of seeing the results of all the hard work are tremendous.
8. They know how to sell. Business is all about selling.
Whether selling their idea to an investor, negotiating with a bank for a loan, talking to a supplier, or directly selling to the customer, entrepreneurs know how to sell. The business is bound to fail if the entrepreneur does not know how to sell. If they do not have sales skills, they are smart enough to partner with someone who excels at it.
9. They have a powerful drive to accumulate wealth.
Entrepreneurs appreciate what money could bring to their lives – and embrace it. They know that financial success can afford them with opportunity, freedom, and well-being. They view starting their own businesses as an opportunity to earn far more than they could ever from working for others. Win, lose or draw, entrepreneurs want to be master of their own financial destiny.
Check out the slideshow How to Succeed in Business: 10 Qualities of Successful Entrepreneurs”
Article originally published on August 27, 2010. Updated on January 14, 2020